Agents late in renewing AST – what to do next?

by Readers Question

8:53 AM, 18th February 2016
About 3 years ago

Agents late in renewing AST – what to do next?

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Agents late in renewing AST – what to do next?

I have a property that is being managed by an agent. The current tenant has turned out to be a very good one with long term prospects. late

The problems started with the agents when I received an email asking me if I wanted to renew the tenancy agreement with a 12 month AST. I emailed back to say that I was happy for them to do this. (this was 2 1/2 months prior to the end of the then current agreement). However, a month after the new agreement should have begun I again received an email again asking me if I wanted to renew the tenancy for 12 months.

I expressed my concern that this should have already have been done starting a month earlier. They apologised and promised to contact me to confirm as soon as it was done. I heard nothing. (I should have followed it up but didn’t). Two months later I was talking to the tenant (I was replacing his boiler) and asked him if he had signed the new contract. He said no.

I got onto the agency who were full of apologies and promised to get onto it straight away saying that it would be back dated to the date it should have started. They told me that the tenant had changed his number and was hard to get hold of. He still has the same number he always had and I’ve never had difficulty contacting him!

Later when I enquired about the contract I discovered that they had not back dated it, so that it now runs 3 1/2 month beyond the time I had agreed to. Also, it is now out of sync with the rent payments. I wish to take the property away from the agents and would like to do this from the date that should have been the end of the current tenancy agreement. I realise that I have to pay a finders fee as I will be keeping the tenant and accept this.

However, I begrudge paying the management fees for the 3 1/2 months that go beyond the time scale I agreed. Any advice on this situation would be appreciated. Also any advice as to information and documentation that I should request from the agents when I leave them. I intend to manage this property myself for the time being.

Many thanks

Lisa



Comments

Neil Patterson

8:56 AM, 18th February 2016
About 3 years ago

Hi Lisa,

Obviously one would hope that a business like conversation with the agents will resolve the situation. However, if that doesn't work you should make a formal complaint to them if you are still unhappy and then if not resolved take the complaint to the agent's redress scheme which may be the TPO.

Yvette Newbury

9:48 AM, 18th February 2016
About 3 years ago

As you agreed for them to manage your property and you have the same tenant in occupation, you need to check the terms you signed to agree to them managing your property. You should find a section in there regarding termination of the agreement, with the original tenant in situ. If that doesn't help then a reasonable discussion with the agency might resolve it, unless they did something that shows they were actively managing it in those 3 months (eg. visit for a leak tap arranged by the agent). There is no excuse for their tardiness with regards to the contract and I would imagine they will be ashamed of themselves, and will therefore agree to your request!

Darren Peters

14:52 PM, 18th February 2016
About 3 years ago

Does your managing agent charge a fee to the tenant when they renew the AST? Otherwise what is their interest in renewing a tenancy when the original contract would revert to a Statutory Periodic Tenancy? While under the SPT the tenant could give you just one month's notice, you could give as little as two months' notice to your tenant if you needed to.

Also, in making a new AST, don't you need to pay for a new deposit protection certificate while with a SPT you could renew for free?

Lisa Notner

16:21 PM, 18th February 2016
About 3 years ago

The Agent does charge for a tenancy renewal. I've just been doing some reading up about Statutory Periodic Tenancy and it would seem to be the more sensible route to take with this particular tenant. I'm not sure about whether you need to pay for a new deposit protection certificate when you make a new AST. I'm actually unclear as to the normal process for dealing with deposits. I know that in Scotland the deposit has to be placed with one of 3 deposit schemes but I don't know what charges are made by the schemes.

Darren Peters

18:41 PM, 18th February 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Lisa Notner" at "18/02/2016 - 16:21":

If tenancy turns to spt, you don't have to pay for another certificate you renew online and send the cert to the tenant again. Well with mydeposits.co.uk at least.

That's a scheme where I keep hold of the deposit. The alternative, custodial scheme where the 3rd party company holds the deposit is free.

A new tenancy needs a new certificate. I'd self-manage and stop paying that management company anything but check your contract with them in case they have a

'even when we do nothing you still have to pay us' clause.

Lyndon Whitehouse

21:39 PM, 18th February 2016
About 3 years ago

Lisa, I'm a landlord and letting agent.
I never renew an AST. What is the point?
If circumstances change and you want to recover possession you serve S21 immediately, no waiting for the end of a fixed term.
Like wise for the tenant.
By renewing you lock both yourself and the tenant into a fixed period. Now if the tenant wishes to leave, are you really going to stop them? Who wants a disgruntled tenant?
Periodic term is the best place to be for all concerned.

Darren Peters

13:13 PM, 19th February 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Lyndon Whitehouse" at "18/02/2016 - 21:39":

Looks like Lyndon is one of the good guys.

A lot of Letting Agents renew ASTs as they can then charge the tenant another £200 (in London) admin fee for printing off a new document. It also kind of makes it look like they are doing something to the Landlord too.

Incidentally, you mention being at the property for the boiler. That's what a managing agent is supposed to do, manage things like this, not shift it on to the landlord.

The scheme I use as above costs £24 per protection. It's discounted if you're an NLA member. But whatever way you protect the deposit it is very cheap.

If a new tenancy hasn't been signed I would ask the tenants not to sign anything new, ask them to deal only with you & pay the money into your account not the agents. Then sit back and let the agent chase you for a change.

If the agent makes a big deal about holding the deposit protection certificate, and if you don't have a copy of the cert, the tenants should have one but if not just generate a new one and a new AST between you and the tenants. Just a bit of paperwork - a bit unfamiliar the first time then really easy for the money you save on a bad letting agent.


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